It may have taken a long time to get here but the finale of Telltale Games’ epic Tales from the Borderlands is finally upon us. After a tough journey Rhys and Fiona finally get their chance to open a vault, and deal with everything else that comes along with it.
The first part of The Vault of the Traveler deals with the major choice at the end of Episode 4 and wraps up the Handsome Jack storyline. This is the only disappointing part of the episode in that it essentially nullifies whatever choice you made, instead just continuing the story in a regular direction. Granted, that is how Telltale’s titles have worked in the past but it still seemed very sudden. Either way you take it, that part is wrapped up well and then after a couple events I won’t spoil, we finally catch up to current time.
If you haven’t been paying attention, Tales from the Borderlands has been a framed narrative since the beginning. Naturally, the finale reveals who the mysterious character is who captured Rhys and Fiona and has been interrogating them about their journey. It’s quite a smart reveal that I personally did not see coming. At this point, past and present come together as the team gets ready to finally tackle the Vault.
If you have played any of the proper Borderlands games then you know all of the Vaults on Pandora are accompanied by a terrifying, gigantic monster. Luckily for this crew, that’s essentially common knowledge at this point. Aside from some early missteps they are able to properly prepare to take on this beast.
In a really cool moment that kind of feels like a nod to the end of Mass Effect 2, you hand select characters to form a team of “Vault Hunters” to take into the final fight. However, who you can pick is directly based on your choices in the game. Some just need to be left alive, some will join you based on how you’ve carried yourself and one simply requires you to have a lot of money left over. It really makes your choices feel important, moreso than any other previous Telltale title has done.
Once you are done picking your squad, you launch your assault against the Vault Monster. This is an extended QTE action sequence of epic proportions. The way you dole out damage to the monster is smartly put together with the action bouncing back and forth between characters. There is even a part that directly homages Street Fighter with the inputs you have to do. I mean there is literally a “down, diagonal, forward” QTE sequence that launches a fireball at the monster. It’s pretty great.
The finale of Tales from the Borderlands brings everything you want out of a conclusion. Everything is wrapped up tightly with plenty of spectacular moments, while also taking time to deal with story issues and quiet moments of characters dying – this is still a Telltale game after all. Plus, after all of that, the game drops a nice little cliffhanger, all but confirming that there is more Tales from the Borderlands to come.
EPISODE SCORE: 9.5 out of 10
Tales from the Borderlands is a definite change of pace from the very serious titles Telltale Games has usually puts out. In true Borderlands form, everything is presented with sarcasm and jokes, along with a certain level a goofiness. That, however, did not stop it have from softer, poignant moments throughout. Even more impressive, though, is how on point the entire series was when it came to Borderlands’ style. Everything is pulled directly from the series, from the amazing intro sequences and music to returning characters and locales. It’s the love letter to Borderlands that you didn’t even think you needed.
Similar to many of Telltale’s other titles, every episode is great with the exception of the uneven first episode, back when Tales from the Borderlands was still trying to find its footing. Once it found itself in Episode Two, it never stopped delivering memorable moment after memorable moment. What perhaps is more impressive is that it was able to be more than just goofy Borderlands by showing smart dialog and characters with true humanity and feelings. All together, it stands as another example of how great Telltale has become at crafting adventure games. I mean if they can do it with Borderlands, they can probably do it with anything.
SEASON SCORE: 9.5 out of 10
A season pass for Tales From The Borderlands was provided to Pixel Related for review.